President Joe Biden's administration made a controversial agreement with Iran on September 11, a decision that has come under severe criticism. Initially deemed a bad deal, it has now emerged as even more troubling than anticipated. According to reports from National Review, Iran not only gained access to a substantial $6 billion in previously frozen, sanctioned funds but also secured the release of several prisoners, including individuals considered national security threats.
What's particularly concerning is that three of these released individuals are either U.S. citizens or permanent residents, rendering them ineligible for deportation to Iran. Instead, they will remain in the U.S. with ostensibly cleared records, yet with a strong incentive to potentially engage in activities that could pose a serious threat to national security. The decision to release these individuals has raised eyebrows and generated significant debate.
The release of the $6 billion in frozen Iranian funds is another contentious aspect of this agreement. These funds, previously held in South Korean banks, have been transferred to a Qatari bank, with the stipulation that they are to be used solely for humanitarian purposes, such as providing food and medicine to the Iranian people. However, given Iran's recent support for Hamas and its involvement in planning attacks against Israelis, there is growing demand to refreeze this money. Senate Republicans are calling for this step, as allowing the funds to flow into Iran's economy could strengthen their capacity to fund terrorism.
Moreover, the return of some of the Iranian prisoners to Iran via Qatar, including individuals like Mehrdad Ansari and Reza Sarhangpour Kafrani, who were involved in activities related to military and nuclear applications, has stirred controversy. These individuals were engaged in actions that directly threatened national security, yet they were released as part of the agreement.
Furthermore, there are concerns about the three prisoners who will continue to reside in the U.S. Amin Hasanzadeh, Kambiz Attar Kashani, and Kaveh Lotfolah Afrasiabi, despite their past activities that posed national security concerns. They now have a clean slate and the potential to engage in dangerous activities once again.
US President Joe Biden's $6 billion prisoner-swap arrangement with Iran is under scrutiny.https://t.co/DCMvMiI2Br
— HNGN (@HNGNcom) October 10, 2023
Critics argue that President Biden was willing to make substantial concessions to appease Iran. The release of five individuals with known national security concerns, combined with the unfreezing of $6 billion in funds, sends a troubling message that the U.S. may be willing to make concessions to a regime that supports terrorism and poses a threat to American interests and allies. While securing the release of five American captives is undoubtedly a positive outcome, the high cost incurred for their freedom, which may have implications for future security, has drawn considerable criticism and tarnished Biden's reputation.
This exchange with Iran underscores concerns about Biden's approach to national security and his eagerness to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Critics argue that it highlights the need for a more prudent approach that prioritizes national safety and security, especially when dealing with nations that actively support violence and terrorism.